South Carolina 5-Year-Old Rings Cancer-Free Bell After 3-Year Battle

South Carolina 5-Year-Old Rings Cancer-Free Bell After 3-Year Battle
Edisto Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

After three years of fighting childhood leukemia, Jonathan Whetstone rung the victory bell at Columbia hospital on Thursday.

Since he was just two years old, Jonathan Whetstone has been fighting for his survival. When he contracted an ear infection and the flu before his second birthday, doctors said they had nothing to worry about. But as his parents watched their infant son’s energy decline, they pursued further testing.

That diligence saved his life. Jonathan had been living with undetected childhood leukemia, which can carry a mortality rate as high as 40 percent. The fight for his life lasted for the next three years and finally ended on Thursday morning. “It’s kind of surreal after three years of going through this it’s finally over,” said Maryann Whetstone, Jonathan’s mother.

Mark Whetstone, Jonathan’s father, has been overwhelmed by the widespread show of support. “It’s been prayers across the country,” he says, “Even outside the United States. The support we’ve gotten from our churches, families and volunteer firefighters service has been great.”

But the local community has been just as fervent. The Edisto and Bolentown Volunteer Fire Department, where Mark volunteers, lent their support to the Whetstone family — and shared in their celebration. “What a Beautiful Day! Jonathan Whetstone has officially BEAT CANCER and rung the bell,” they posted on Facebook on Thursday morning.

But, as they wrote, “our fight still continues.” To that end, the department has signed up to participate in the “7th Annual Curing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull,” an event that raises money to fund research for a cure that would save the lives of other children just like Jonathan.

“There are many more kids out there that need your help,” they wrote. “Help us continue celebrating Jonathan by donating to the link below. Even the smallest donation can make a HUGE difference.” At the time of this writing, they have raised $9,215 of their $10,000 goal.

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